Internet Speed Restrictions Extended Following Mass Gathering in J&K

The Jammu & Kashmir administration has ordered to extend internet speed restrictions till 27 April. This comes after the Supreme Court issued notice last week in a petition to restore 4G speeds in the UT considering the COVID-19 crisis. Foundation of Media Professionals, the petitioner filed a fresh application in its PIL on Wednesday. The application sought to bring on record evidence regarding the impact of speed curbs. An affidavit was produced that contained individual narratives of hardships faced by doctors, students, journalists, business persons due to internet speed restrictions.

However, the administration claims that the 2G restrictions have not posed any hindrance to COVID-19 control measures. The administration claims that social media is still being used for circulating photos of terrorists and for “mobilising crowds”. The order also cites the gathering of 400–500 locals for the funeral of a militant in Sopore district last week. In a previous order, the Department had stated that the speed restrictions have not hindered “access to online educational content”. The order also clarified that only verified pre-paid subscribers can access mobile internet.

“Taking note of misuse of social media applications in terror activities and also in adversely impacting public order, it is apparent that there is need for continuation of speed restrictions on mobile internet services”, stated the previous order, invoking powers under Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act and Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules 2017.